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Two Together Railcard question

I'm playing around on the National Rail website "Plan A Journey"
https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/plan-a-journey/

I see where I can put in that 2 adults are travelling on such and such a date.
For the field on "Railcards" there is an option for choosing the Two Together Railcard -- and then a number. The default is "1."
If my companion and I are travelling together using the Two Together Railcard, should the number be "1" or "2"? We obviously only have the one railcard....

And, a bit related, when I get results, I'm a little confused by the "Off Peak Single" and "Anytime Day Single" options given. I'm always quoted the cheapest--which I understand is the most restrictive. But many of the "Anytime Day Single" tickets look identical to me, except for the price.

I understand that there's a difference between Standard Class and 1st Class, but what's the difference between all of these "Anytime Day Single" tickets? For the combination I selected there's a difference of 151GBP to 297GBP (these are all Standard Class).
Thanks!

Posted by
6704 posts

The number to use is 1- you would put 2 if you were booking 4 people who had two railcards between them.

You will be given all the fare options for your journey.

Off Peak has morning and evening time restrictions- which differ for where you are. In London and the South East it is not before 0930 on a weekday and often not between 4 and 7 in the evening. Anytime is valid, well, at anytime. In my part of the world it's 0845 I think. When Scotrail end their all day off peak trial and we go back to normal then some lines don't have a peak at all, and some lines off peak starts as early as 7am

If you are being offered an off peak fare for your journeys and are happy you won't want to travel in the restricted times instead go for the off peak. If you think you may want to be flexible and travel in the peak times then buy an anytime ticket.

Posted by
2491 posts

If you tell us where & when you are planning to travel, we might be able to come back with some tips about how you can reduce the cost. For example, if you are going one way only, it can be more expensive than buying returns. So, buying a return may be cheaper if you are indeed coming back to your start point.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks so much for your replies!

I can see that knowing the particulars might help. I was searching for a one-way trip Heathrow Terminals 2&3 to Bath Spa on Sept 4/2024. Departing after 14.00. For 2 Adults, with a Two Together Fare. Standard Class.

If I choose the 14.25 departure, I get the Advance Single cost of 53GBP. I understand that has restrictions.
And, there are options for Off-Peak and Anytime. And I understand that.

But for each of the three categories there is a + sign with "More Advance Ticket Options" or "More Off-Peak Ticket Options" or "More Anytime Options." And all of these come with higher prices.

So there are several "Advance Single" options for, say, 56GBP or 71GBP or 81GBP. But I'm not sure why anyone would purchase these?

In a similar way, the Anytime Day Single is 151GBP, but if I twist open that + sign for More Anytime Ticket options, there is an option for 196GBP. I think that the 196GBP one gives more leeway on what trains I actually use.

I should add that I'm looking at the National Rail website.

Posted by
6704 posts

The £196 Any time day single is valid via Paddington, the £151 version isn't.
Likewise the off peak singles at £113 and £129, the £171 version is available any route e.g. - via Woking then Salisbury or Westbury. The various advances are valid not London, London and any route.
Not London will always be the cheapest, and any route at all the most expensive.

Posted by
18 posts

The different Advance Single prices are just reflecting the different price tiers available for these, you are right to question why anyone would purchase anything but the cheapest one; I've never understood why the National Rail site bothers to show the range of prices for these if you look instead of only the cheapest one as is generally usual for the train company booking engines.

Anyway, as for the question about the different Anytime Day Single prices - they are slightly different in terms of validity - the £151.40 option is not valid via London, the £196.10 option is - hence you are paying more for greater choice of routes. If you click on fare it will explain the full time and route validity.

Posted by
2491 posts

If you are using the trains in the middle of the day (weekdays) such as not before 9.30am and not between roughly 4pm to 7pm, you may well find that you can buy a return off peak ticket or even super off-peak at a reasonable price. This means that you are not tied to specific trains as you would be with the Advance fares. This is assuming that you are going to return. Even of you intend to return to London first, you could would still be covered as far as Reading when coming back east. You would then need a ticket to cover Reading to Paddington.

Test it out on this site - but note they charge a small booking fee.https://www.thetrainline.com/ (It will tell you the times when the off peak fares are valid).

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for all of the replies. I truly appreciate them!
There is much more nuance to the trains than I originally thought.

Thetrainline.com does seem to make things more transparent, but I can see that one must be very aware of the details before purchasing.

Posted by
270 posts

One thing that maybe adding to the cost is a route that involves coming into London.

Try splitting the journey into two parts: one from Heathrow to the main line to Bath and another from one of those stations to Bath.

I am travelling to a town near Reading and considered the Railbus to Reading station and then a quick hop on a train.

Posted by
2491 posts

Valerie - I think you will find this site easier to use:>https://www.traintickets.com/?/

I just checked it out for 4 September departing Heathrow at 13.55 for 2 adults going 1 way to Bath with a 2 Together Railcard discount applies. The price is £42.63. (This entails taking an Elizabeth Line Train out of Heathrow to the first stop a few minutes later at Hayes & Harlington. This is on the mainline from London to the west and you will see express trains shooting through at 125mph. You must then change to a stopping train that will take you west to Reading where you can change to one of those express trains heading to Bath. This is much cheaper than going into London Paddington and then catching the express to Bath. It does not add any time to your journey. The site gives you a simple map of the routing.

You will see that it splits the ticket (to get the price down) at a place called Langley. You don’t get off the train at Langley. Because this site has found you a saving with this split as we call it, they will charge you a £1.33 booking fee. The National Rail website that you used earlier or any train company websites will not tell you about such splits - which are perfectly legal.

In the event that you are ready to to leave Heathrow earlier with such a pre-booked Advance ticket - I suggest you take an Elizabeth Line train to Hayes & Harlington & then proceed to Reading. At Reading they are likely to be more ‘awkward’ about you boarding an express train which is not the one that your ticket applies to. The person that matters is the Train Manager who is usually near the rear of the train when it stops.